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There are about a million and a half broccoli and cheese soup recipes out there. You may be wondering why you need me to tell you how to make broccoli cheese soup. Well, the recipes I’ve seen tend to use flour as a thickener, have a long list of ingredients, or just take a while to prepare. Today I’m sharing my quick and simple version of easy broccoli cheese soup, which you can make in only 20 minutes. And, it happens to be a keto low carb broccoli cheese soup, too!
This easy broccoli cheese soup recipe was originally published back in 2016 and updated in July 2019. But, I have since changed the post so much. I’ve added plenty of tips to help you make the best broccoli cheese soup ever, plus I’ve taken new pictures. Since it has also been possibly the most popular recipe I’ve ever made, I’m sharing it again today.
The beauty of this gluten-free broccoli cheddar soup is that everyone seems to love it, whether they are eating low carb or not. And if you’re just beginning your journey on how to start a low carb diet plan, all the better to try a keto soup that the rest of your family will gladly eat, too. (The sodium and potassium will help avoid keto flu, too!)
It also happens to be healthy and perfect for clean eating, but that’s just a bonus. You don’t have to be following any special diet at all to enjoy this easy broccoli cheddar soup recipe.
Simple Broccoli and Cheese Soup
This easy, creamy low carb broccoli cheese soup is probably the easiest recipe you’ll find. It’s also gluten-free, healthy, and can be vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth. I’ve even made it with bone broth before to incorporate the benefits of that.
You’ll love that it takes just twenty minutes to prepare, so you can totally throw it together at the last minute on a busy weeknight. It’s also an excellent choice as a starter for guests coming over without spending a lot of extra time.
It requires just a few (five!) simple ingredients. Best of all, they are so common that, chances are, you have most of them on hand.
Yep, broccoli and cheese soup with only five ingredients. Are you intrigued? All you need is:
- Heavy cream
- Chicken broth
- Shredded cheddar cheese
To be fair, this makes a very basic broccoli soup recipe. The ingredients and flavors are not complex.
This is intentional! I wanted to keep it simple so that it’s very accessible to just about anyone.
If you want to change it up, see my tips below on what to add to broccoli cheddar soup.
How To Make Broccoli Cheese Soup
Ready to see how to make broccoli cheese soup without added carbs or weird ingredients? It’s super simple, just a few easy steps:
- Saute garlic in a large pot or Dutch oven. It takes about 45-60 seconds, until fragrant.
- Add chicken broth, heavy cream, and chopped broccoli. Simmer until the broccoli is tender, about 10-20 minutes.
TIP: The simmer time will vary depending on the size of your florets. Smaller florets = faster simmer time.
- Add the shredded cheddar cheese gradually, stirring constantly, and continue to stir until melted. This will help thicken the soup.
TIP: Avoid having the heat too high when adding the cheese or after, to avoid seizing. See more tips about how to make broccoli cheese soup perfectly, without carbs and without clumping, below.
OR, go with my preferred method to avoid clumping altogether…
- Puree the broccoli into the soup along with the cheddar cheese using an immersion blender. I like to remove about 1/3 the florets using a slotted spoon first, so that you can toss the florets back in afterward and have some broccoli pieces in your soup.
TIP: The more broccoli you leave in before pureeing, the thicker your broccoli soup will be. The cheese helps thicken your broccoli cheddar soup, but the pureed broccoli florets will, too!
If you’re curious about what my older pictures of homemade broccoli cheese soup looked like, here is one:
Customizing Healthy Broccoli Cheese Soup
Once you’ve mastered the basic process, it’s so easy to customize it. Try adding:
- Your favorite spices (my fave is Italian seasoning!)
- Other veggies, like cauliflower, bell peppers or onions
- Shredded chicken
- Cooked bacon
- Sun-dried tomatoes
The possibilities are endless!
TIP: Go easy on anything that has added salt, like bacon. The broccoli soup is already salty to begin with, due to the cheese and broth.
You’ll also have an easier time with the cheese if you add any other ingredients after the cheese melts first. Otherwise, the cheese might stick to the add-ins and have issues melting.
Alternatively, if your other add-ins need to cook, temporarily remove them with a slotted spoon at the end, melt in the cheese, and then return them to the pot.
How To Thicken Broccoli Cheddar Soup Naturally
Believe it or not, the thickener in this gluten-free broccoli cheese soup is simply cheese. No flour, starches, or artificial thickeners are necessary for this one.
The heavy cream also reduces as it cooks, which helps very slightly with thickening. For this reason, I wouldn’t recommend swapping out the cream with any kind of milk. It will work okay, but the result will be a lot less creamy.
Of course, the cheese does the majority of the work in thickening this broccoli cheddar soup recipe…
When I discovered that shredded cheddar works so well, I honestly wondered why I’ve never seen this before. Yes, it’s a teeny tiny bit thinner than a flour-thickened version, but it’s so much easier. And, it’s better for you, too.
No carbs, no fuss, and still creamy and delicious. That’s a win-win, and makes this top my list when it comes to broccoli and cheese soup recipes.
How To Make Broccoli Cheddar Soup Thicker
The cheese does thicken this broccoli soup well enough for me. And the flavor is just perfect. That being said, I know that some people like a really, really thick broccoli cheddar soup.
If you want to know how to make broccoli cheese soup thicker, what are your options? There are a few ways that you can make this low carb soup thicker, if you want to:
- Add more cheese. The more cheese you add, the thicker your broccoli and cheese soup will be! This is the easiest option, but keep in mind it still won’t be as thick as using an actual thickener.
- Puree it. This is my preferred method. Simply pour some or all of the broccoli soup into a blender or food processor after cooking. It will get thicker from the broccoli itself! If you still want some whole broccoli pieces, just puree part of it and then return to the pot. You can also puree the whole thing, if you want to. Pureeing is an extra step, but it’s still a pretty easy broccoli cheese soup.
- Add a low carb thickener. These would be thickeners like xanthan gum or glucomannan. They are not completely natural, so I tend to just skip them. But if you want a super thick low carb or keto soup, they will do the trick. Start by whisking a bit of the powder (maybe just 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp) with some water, then whisk the mixture into the soup.
- Use a starch thickener. These would be arrowroot powder or cornstarch. Both are gluten-free, but now low carb. That being said, just a little bit will not make the soup super high in carbs. If you are okay with it, tossing the shredded cheese in a little arrowroot or cornstarch before adding to the soup will help it melt better and thicken better.
- Simmer it. You’ll notice this broccoli and cheese soup recipe contains heavy cream, which reduces when you simmer it enough. (For example, this is the secret for how to make Alfredo sauce.) So, the simmering is part of the process to thicken as well!
How To Make Broccoli And Cheese Soup 3 Ways
Do you like your broccoli soup super smooth or with chunks of broccoli? You actually have 3 options there:
- Pieces – Leave all the broccoli florets whole in your low carb broccoli cheese soup. (This is shown in the photos.)
- Pureed – Pureeing is an excellent way to get a thicker soup, if that’s what you like. The broccoli thickens it.
- Combination – You can even mix it up and puree half of it while leaving the rest as florets. Best of both worlds – and my fave!
My 10 month old daughter loved the completely pureed version – quite an impressive feat, considering she’s the pickiest eater you’ve ever seen. That right, there, seals the deal on this broccoli soup. And, it’s why I make it practically every week, all winter long.
So, are you convinced yet? Why not give it a try and make some easy broccoli cheese soup tonight?
Frozen Vs. Fresh Broccoli Cheese Soup
How to make broccoli soup with fresh broccoli? What about frozen broccoli? The answer is you can use either one! The instructions are exactly the same (below).
TIP: The simmer time for the broccoli soup may vary depending on the size of your florets and whether they were fresh or frozen. Frozen broccoli is usually pre-blanched, so it might cook a little quicker once it thaws in the soup (toss it in frozen!), but on the other hand, fresh broccoli doesn’t need to thaw first (obviously).
No matter what kind you use, you’ll know it’s done simmering when the broccoli is soft and tender.
How To Store Broccoli Soup
Low carb broccoli cheese soup stores well in the fridge for about 5 days. You can reheat it on the stove top over low heat.
Sometimes it separates a bit after a while, but usually comes back together after you reheat while stirring frequently. If that doesn’t help, you can also puree it in a blender – this will bring it back together.
Can You Freeze Broccoli Cheese Soup?
Yes, you can freeze this healthy broccoli cheese soup! Simply let it cool to room temperature, then freeze flat in freezer bags or in a freezer safe container.
Thaw it in the fridge completely the night before using. Then, you can cook it over low heat, stirring frequently to prevent curdling.
Is Broccoli Cheese Soup Keto?
Typical broccoli cheese soup is not keto, because it’s often thickened with flour or some kind of starch.
Fortunately, this easy broccoli cheese soup is perfectly keto friendly! But you don’t have to be keto to enjoy it.
How Many Carbs In Broccoli Cheese Soup?
Since most broccoli cheese soup recipes, whether they are homemade or at restaurants, contain starch as a thickener, they are not low carb. For example, Panera broccoli cheese soup has 19g total carbs and 15g net carbs in 1 cup.
In comparison, this low carb broccoli cheese soup recipe has just 4g net carbs and 5g total carbs!
What Goes With Broccoli Cheese Soup?
Need ideas for what to serve with broccoli cheese soup? There are many options, but I find that Italian flavors work very well in particular.
Here are some recipes to add to your meal with broccoli and cheese soup:
- Proteins like juicy baked chicken breast, sirloin steak, or salmon foil packets
- Veggie side dishes like roasted asparagus, mashed cauliflower, or roasted Brussels sprouts
- Healthy salads like avocado Caprese salad, kale Caesar salad, or Big Mac cheeseburger salad
- Keto garlic breadsticks from the Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Cookbook – you’ll also find a version of this easy broccoli cheese soup recipe in the book!
Tips For The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup
I’m thrilled that so many of you are making this easy broccoli cheese soup recipe! Along with my bacon wrapped asparagus, low carb cheesecake, and fathead pizza crust, it’s one of the most popular ones on the blog.
That being said, I also want to address any issues some people may be having. I truly want this to be your ultimate go-to broccoli soup recipe. So if you’re having trouble (or even before you start!), read these tips for best results.
For anyone that has problems with clumping during the cheese melting process in their broccoli cheddar soup, I have a few tips!
- Make sure the temperature is not too hot. This is super important! The heat should be very low when adding the cheese. If it’s too hot, the cheese can seize and clump.
- The broccoli florets should be small. The cheese tends to stick to larger pieces more.
- Use pre-shredded cheese OR add a de-clumping agent. The recipe works best with pre-shredded cheese that comes in a bag. If you shred a block of cheese yourself, or if your shredded cheese already seems clumpy to begin with, toss it with a little arrowroot powder or cornstarch first, before adding to the soup.
- Add only a little cheese at a time. If you dump all the cheese in at once, it will clump more.
- Stir, stir, stir! Keep stirring as you add the cheese.
- Backup plan #1: Puree it! If all else fails, just throw the soup in a blender (or use an immersion blender).
- The #1 recommended way: Remove the broccoli first and then puree! Thank you to a reader for suggesting this. If you’d like, you can scoop out the broccoli florets before adding the cheese and set them aside. A large slotted spoon works best for this. Melt in the cheese, then add the broccoli back in afterward. In fact, this is now my preferred method for how to make broccoli cheese soup!
And if you want a super thick broccoli soup, see the section above on ways to achieve that.
There you have it! As long as you do these things to ensure the cheese melts well, you’ll get the simplest, best broccoli cheese soup ever. 😉
5-Ingredient Low Carb Broccoli Cheese Soup:
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Easy Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe - 5 Ingredients
How to make the best broccoli cheddar soup in 20 minutes! This easy, low carb broccoli cheese soup recipe is healthy, CHEESY, 5 ingredients, & gluten-free.
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RECIPE TIPS + VIDEO in the post above, nutrition info + recipe notes below!
Click on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
- In a large pot over medium heat, saute garlic for one minute, until fragrant.
- Add the chicken broth, heavy cream, and chopped broccoli. Increase heat to bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10-20 minutes, until broccoli is tender.
Option 1 (original recipe):
Add the shredded cheddar cheese gradually, stirring constantly, and continue to stir until melted. (Add 1/2 cup (64 g), simmer and stir until it melts fully, then repeat 1/2 cup (64 g) at a time until all the cheese is used up.) Make sure to keep it at a very low simmer and avoid high heat, to prevent seizing. Remove from heat immediately once all the cheese melts.
Option 2 (recommended):
Use a slotted spoon to remove about 1/3 of the broccoli pieces and set aside. (This step is optional, if you want some pieces in your soup at the end. If you want all of the soup pureed, you can leave them in.)
Use an immersion blender to puree the remaining broccoli.
Reduce heat to low. Add the shredded cheddar cheese 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly, and continue to stir until melted. Puree again to make it smooth.
Remove from heat. Add the reserved broccoli florets back to the soup.
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- IMPORTANT: See my tips in the post above (before the recipe card) for best results when melting the cheese!
- To make this low carb soup even healthier, try making it with grass-fed bone broth.
- Want to know how to make broccoli cheese soup in a CROCK POT? That recipe is now available as a subscriber exclusive (for free). Click here to scroll to the signup form (at the top of this page).
Serving size: 1 cup
Video Showing How To Make Broccoli Cheese Soup:
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Nutrition Information Per Serving
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database. You can find individual ingredient carb counts we use in the Low Carb & Keto Food List. Carb count excludes sugar alcohols. Net carb count excludes both fiber and sugar alcohols, because these do not affect blood sugar in most people. We try to be accurate, but feel free to make your own calculations.
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